Live in Portland

TechfestNW – Startup stars of today and tomorrow come to Portland


Maybe it’s the rainy weather that keeps people inside for days at a time or the abundance of search engine optimization companies in town, but Portland has a reputation for being full of tech heads, math nerds and gaming geeks. The city is also known for having an abundance of innovative small business startups and a citizenry that thinks outside the box.  When you combine a keen understanding of technology with hard work and creativity you have a solid formula for success in business.

Fortunately, April in Portland offers the perfect opportunity for computer enthusiast and people with great startup ideas to come together and attend lectures by some of the most successful people in technology today. On Monday, April 25 and Tuesday, April 26 The Armory in Portland will host Techfest Northwest and its sister event Pitchfest Northwest.

Although it is only five years old, TechfestNW has attracted some very impressive participants. The speakers include a major advocate for green cities, a man who helped to reinvent the hospitality industry and a woman who can teach you how to snoop safely and effectively.

If you want to know more about starting a green business you may want to have a listen to Portland’s own Mitsuhiro Yamazaki. Mr. Yamazaki is the head of exports and foreign investments for our city. He is also the leader of the, “We Build Green Cities” initiative whose intention is to have green cities, like Portland in Japan.

If you want to know how to promote a new concept by using established methods and ideas, you may want to check out the lecture by Chip Conley. He is the head of Global Hospitality and Strategy at Airbnb which is the website where people can find lodging when they are traveling or rent rooms in their homes to travelers. It was the startup idea of two imaginative San Francisco residents who wanted to rent out rooms in the loft when they could not afford to pay the rent. In its eight year history the company has grown to the point where it operates in 190 countries.

Mr. Conley has a long and successful history in the hospitality industry. He has had a major hand in the creation of many small hotels.

Nothing says a lawsuit like a good swift knock in the head. If you just got a drone and want to spy on your employees or possibly your ex-boyfriend in a safe and effective manner, you may want to attend the lecture by Skyward COO Mariah Scott.

Skyward is a commercial drone management company that’s software can do everything from creating a drone air space map to flight planning and logging. Remember, there is nothing more nonsensical than a piece of equipment used for surveillance making a spectacle of itself by having a sloppy flight plan.

Ms. Scott knows a thing or two about business as she spent fifteen years at Intel in leadership roles and has an MBA in business from Northwestern. She has played a key role in the development of new products for both small businesses and big corporations.

If you would rather see the success stories of tomorrow than the superstars of today, you can head on over to PitchfestNW, where fifty different startups will peddle their ideas to top venture capitalists. The top five finalist will have a chance to pitch their ideas on the Mainstage and will receive prizes such as cash, media coverage and a vacation get away. It is kind of like “Shark Tank” meets “Silicone Valley.”

This year’s startups include an app to track mental health, a personal training app and app to detect air quality.

Tickets to the TechFestNW are $119.00

Eliza Gale – Contributor

Eliza Gale - ContributorEliza Gale began her blogging career interviewing aspiring actors and industry professionals on a Los Angeles based website called Curvewire. She started www.elizagalesintervviews in 2012 and has interviewed over three hundred people about their jobs and businesses since then. She has contributed many interviews to, which is a Portland based happy-hour website. She also writes for and